About our Butterflies
Our butterflies are Painted Ladies (Vanessa cardui). Although Monarchs are generally known as the most "popular" butterfly for release, we do not breed them in our Edmonton laboratory. Monarchs are only occasional migrants to Alberta, and our province does not have their only host plant (Milkweed) in quantity, meaning they lack the necessary habitat to breed. Although we do have a few Monarchs who may make it all the way up here during their yearly migration, their numbers are too small to be considered stable, making releasing them unethical. Painted Ladies on the other hand have numerous, readily available host plants including any mallow such as Hollyhock (very common in urban gardens), as well as other widespread plants such as Canada thistle and stinging nettle. Painted Ladies are well-adapted to sudden changes in climate and are native across Canada, meaning that they will be hardy in our unpredictable northern climate. This species is ideal because the breeding population is very stable; they can be released in any quantity. Though they may be small, they are mighty, and we believe they are very special animals.
If you live in an area where Monarchs are more common, such as British Columbia or Ontario, just let us know - we are happy to help you obtain the species you desire.
First Nations Prayer
The Great Spirit created butterflies out of only the most beautiful in His creation. He took black from the maiden's hair, yellow from the warm summer sun, orange from the flower blossom, and blue from the rivers and waters of the earth. But He did not give them a voice, as they were His own special creatures, and more beautiful than all others.
If you have a secret wish, a dream, or a secret, capture a butterfly and whisper your heart's desire to it. Since butterflies make no sound, they will carry your wish to the Creator, who alone knows the thoughts of butterflies. By releasing them into the wild you are helping restore the sacred balance of nature, and your heart's needs will surely be granted.
Bringing the beauty of butterflies to your event
Live release butterflies are available for priority shipping (usually overnight) in Canada, or same-day shipping in the Edmonton area. We guarantee our shipping and use private couriers to ensure the safety and health of these delicate creatures.
Butterflies are creatures of sunlight and warmth, and as such are available only in the warmer months of the year. We can begin releasing butterflies after the May long weekend, and we usually close releases in early September (weather pending).
For many ancient cultures across the world, butterflies are a meaningful symbol of the spirit world and communications with our ancestors and the Great Spirit. A memorial or funeral butterfly release is an appropriate, touching and dignified way to honour the memory of a loved one. The release is peaceful, healing and serene; a beautiful and sacred way of providing friends, family, and especially children a way to express their final goodbyes.
Butterflies are always packaged in individual release boxes for their safety and well-being. This benefits you as well, because each person receiving a butterfly will have their own special moment with it before they set it free.
We exclusively work with Painted lady butterflies (Vanessa cardui) as they are more environmentally ethical in many places (like where we are from) in the North than the more popular Monarch butterfly.
We will include a copy of instructions for their release, so you feel safe and worry-free during your event. We will also include a copy of a First Nations prayer (scroll down for more) which is close to our heart, and which we find very meaningful.
Please feel welcome to contact us at any time with any questions regarding your butterfly release. We will be pleased to explain how this ancient tradition works and to help you with the planning of your event.
Butterflies have long been a symbol of celebrating new beginnings, transition, and renewed hope for the future. Our painted lady butterflies will become a treasured part of your memories, whatever they may be.
In many ancient cultures the butterfly holds a spiritual significance: almost universally all over our Earth, first nations peoples believed that butterflies were a sacred symbol of the human soul and a messenger from the spirit world to us.
So too, in many ancient languages the word for the human soul and the word for butterflies or moths were often synonymous, if not the same.
The Butterfly is Nature's way of reminding us that there is always hope.
When the caterpillar is no more, the butterfly is born in ultimate freedom and beauty.
All of our butterflies are hand reared under conditions that resemble as closely as possible the natural life cycle of wild populations.
NO butterflies are captured from the wild.
Unlike doves, or highly destructive balloons, Painted Lady butterflies are a indigenous species who return to nature and integrate with wild populations; they are a beneficial pollinator and will help maintain our flowering plants and habitat, just like native bees. They have a variety of host plants across Canada and will continue their life cycle once released, helping to restore balance to their habitat and involving you in the sacred cycle of life and rebirth.
At Butterfly Wings n' Wishes, we hope to encourage people to become more aware of butterflies, and to understand and improve wild habitats to allow these amazing creatures and others like them to survive and thrive in our changing world.
Alberta's Environmental Educators - Since 2000
Butterfly Wings n' Wishes is a proud member of the International Butterfly Breeders Association (IBBEA).
The IBBEA is a not for profit trade organization that promotes a highly standardized level of ethics, cleanliness and professionalism in the field of raising butterflies and caterpillars of all species.
Butterfly Wings N' Wishes respectfully acknowledges that we are located on Treaty 6 territory, a traditional gathering place for diverse Indigenous peoples including the Cree, Blackfoot, Metis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, Ojibway/ Saulteaux/Anishinaabe, Inuit, and many others whose histories, languages, and cultures continue to influence our business, our way of life, and our community. Miigwech, ay ay, masi chok, ish nish. We are grateful.
Painted Lady Butterflies for Special Events
Price breaks are offered as quantities increase.
Less than 12 Butterflies: $12.50 each
Twelve or More Butterflies: $10.50 each
Twenty-Four or More: $8.50 each
Please be aware that we require a minimum of 6 butterflies per order.
All butterflies are individually packaged, no exceptions.
Orders should be placed a minimum of 2-3 weeks in advance; the butterflies take a long time to breed, so our numbers are first come first served.
Shipping available only within Canada.
We ship priority overnight via courier for the safety of the butterflies. Shipping is not available on weekends and holidays.
Shipping in Edmonton: $15.00
Shipping in Alberta: $25.00
Shipping elsewhere in Canada: starting at $35.00 (price will be quoted)